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Language from police body camera footage shows racial disparities in officer respect

OPEN Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | 7 Jun 2017

R Voigt, NP Camp, V Prabhakaran, WL Hamilton, RC Hetey, CM Griffiths, D Jurgens, D Jurafsky and JL Eberhardt
Abstract
Using footage from body-worn cameras, we analyze the respectfulness of police officer language toward white and black community members during routine traffic stops. We develop computational linguistic methods that extract levels of respect automatically from transcripts, informed by a thin-slicing study of participant ratings of officer utterances. We find that officers speak with consistently less respect toward black versus white community members, even after controlling for the race of the officer, the severity of the infraction, the location of the stop, and the outcome of the stop. Such disparities in common, everyday interactions between police and the communities they serve have important implications for procedural justice and the building of police-community trust.
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Concepts
Sociology, Black, Linguistics, Ethnic group, White people, Race, Black people
MeSH headings
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